Successfully developing a compliant system requires sophisticated geometry, the appropriate materials (or an appropriate distribution of materials) and an efficient production technique. As a rule, the choice of one of these three elements is closely linked with the choice of the other two.
Two mechanisms with the same geometry will behave completely differently if they are made of different materials. A combination of geometry and material that appears ideal in the simulation environment is worthless if there is no appropriate production technique that allows this optimised design to be implemented as a physical mechanism. In the same way, the type of production (where the geometry and material both remain constant) has an effect on the performance value of the compliant system. For example, the surface finish significantly affects the life span of the system.
It is therefore clear that the development of a compliant mechanism must be viewed as a comprehensive, multidisciplinary optimisation problem that has multiple constraints. Despite all of the advances in numerical simulation and computer-assisted optimisation, there is still no computer programme that has completely automatically solved this complex design task i.e. a specified choice of mechanical values and other requirements (costs, spacial constraints, weight, compatibility with the environment). It will be some time before that is a reality.
Despite solid-state kinematics being well-known as a principle since the tweezers of the Bronze Age, it is no coincidence that it was only in the nineties that compliant systems gained importance and were put to widespread use.
We have been involved in this highly innovative development from the start. We have worked on design rules and criteria for years, as well as on algorithms for the optimisation of topology and form. We have invented quick procedures for the analysis of elastic elements with large deformations. We have become familiar with conventional and multifunctional materials as well as with the most up-to-date production options. The outcomes of this long and intensive work have flowed into dozens of patents, exclusive software modules and extensive databases. By combining traditional engineering skills with the most up to date simulation technology, we can solve the design problems provided by our clients and those relating to our standard products